Thursday, April 19, 2012

Are the super rich perverting our constitution in the political process?

Are the super rich perverting our constitution in the political process? | Articles | IndUS Business Journal

The Las Vegas casino Mogul Sheldon Adelson kept the presidential hopes of Newt Gingrich alive since the start of the GOP elections by infusing large sums from his personal wealth to "Winning the Future" — the super Political Action Committee supporting Gingrich in the Republican caucuses and primaries. Similarly, the millionaire Foster Friess of Wyoming is bank­rolling the pro-Rick-Santorum group (Red, White and Blue Fund), while several wealthy individuals are behind "Restore our Future" super PAC in support of Mitt Romney's candidacy.

The financial support of Gingrich should trigger a new debate on campaign financing and First Amendment speech rights vested in super PACs by the U.S. Supreme Court decision of 2010. By that five to four decision in favor of Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission, the high court has allowed unlimited corporate and union spending in elections as a token of free speech.

While the super PACs are confusing the campaign financing process, the recent Montana Supreme Court decision to uphold a century-old ban on corporate campaign spending in the state (Montana's 1912 Corrupt Practices Act), has befuddled the workings of the nation's highest court. Acknowledging the conflict with Citizens United, Montana's Chief Justice Mike McGrath justified the five to two vote since the state was endangered by the "continued efforts of corporate control to the detriment of democracy and the republican form of government."

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